World Car Free Day
The call to hold a World Car Free Day was first made at the "Accessible Cities" conference in Toledo (Spain) in 1994. In 1998, around twenty cities in France held festive events to mark "Car Free Day". In 2000 the Car Free Day policy spread throughout all the states of the European Union, while by 2001 over 1000 cities, in 35 of the world's countries, had officially joined the movement. Russia signed up to staging a Car Free Day on September 22, 2008.
In 2011, under an initiative by the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, environmental projects were undertaken in 10 Russian cities, to support World Car Free Day. These events were aimed at calling on people to give up their use of fuel-powered motor vehicles for just one day, drawing society's attention to matters of ecology and environmental protection, and promoting a healthy lifestyle.
At the center of the festivities was Sochi, where the biggest projects took place. The Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, in conjunction with the Games Partners, asked Sochi residents to give up their cars for a day, in favor of more environmentally friendly means of transport. There were roller-skates, bikes and ultra-modern, electric Segway scooters available for anyone wishing to use them. The Sochi 2014 General Partner, MegaFon, invited some of the best representatives of extreme sports to take part in the events, and the sports stars put on spectacular demonstrations of BMX, skateboarding and aggressive inline skating. Besides this, everyone had the chance to test not only their sporting potential but also their creative potential, on the topic of "Sport. Family. Environment": as part of the celebrations, master-classes in textile design and graffiti drawings were also held. The conclusion of "Car Free Day" was marked by relays for all the family and a mass cycle rally.
Eco-driving: things to remember
- Keep track of your vehicle's technical condition, use public transport more often and take other people with you on journeys.
- Plan your route carefully: traffic jams can usually be driven around by means of side-streets, or avoided altogether by setting out 15 minutes early.
- Check your tire pressure. A 25% reduction in pressure will increase your car's resistance, on a standing start, by 10%.
- Make use of the air-conditioning system or climate-control only when strictly necessary, and don't forget to close the windows when doing so.
- Try not to change lanes, and move at the speed of the traffic flow; try to free-wheel more often, and brake smoothly: this will enable you to save on fuel and reduce emissions.
- Try to keep your speed at the 70-80 km/hr level. At this speed, you lose only 11 minutes for each 100 km driven, but make a 15-20% saving in fuel.